by Darren Pierce : Radar, Radar! : 04.11.05 5:48am EST


Japanese toymakers have attempted to exploit an integration between toys and stealth usage in the classroom in a series of several minor product events over the decades. Interesting examples are Tomy's MechaPen, Bandai's Transcale, Takara's Microman U-Borg, and uncountable gimmicked pencil cases.

One could write at length on the uniquely Japanese motivation to hide robots in everything around them -- a notion perhaps most famously commercialized in Takara's MicroChange series. While ripped away from the safe tranquility of home, a child might find a comforting and escapist fantasy in knowing his school supplies hide a cache of toys, even if inaccessible.

Takara's BunguSaga revisits the idea with fresh eyes. Three robot heroes are composed of straightedges, erasers, pencil sharpeners, paperclips, and the like. In modern fashion, they've even incorporated the ubiquitous "dueling" concept -- using included six-sided pencils for dice. There's also a robot caddy "pencil case". Life is but a dream.